Monday 24 August 2020

J&J in Rotorua

We've done a lot of travel around the world! During our travels one thing we always said was how lucky we are to call New Zealand home. There's nowhere like it and there is a reason why it's on so many travellers bucket list! One of my fondest memories as a child was spending weekends and holidays exploring New Zealand. Rotorua was one of our family's regular destinations. 

Due to covid-19 there's no better time to explore this place we call home. We’ve even made a new section on the blog and you can find all our family friendly things to do here in New Zealand along with all our Wairarapa adventures. 

We have always been big on experiences rather than presents and for Arlo’s second birthday we decided to pack up the car and head to Rotorua for a family holiday! Rotorua is widely recognised as the cultural capital of New Zealand and the adventure capital of the North Island. With incredible geothermal activity, it’s unlike anywhere else you’ve ever visited and is a must-see destination on any New Zealand trip. 

We stayed the night on our way up to Rotorua at Ohakune and woke up to beautiful views over Mt Ruapehu. We took some photos on the Desert Road before making our way up Mt Ruapehu to have some fun int the snow. Thats the best part about doing New Zealand road trips you can make stopovers on your way to your destination.

Where we stayed:

Upon arrival, we checked into the Millennium Hotel. This was the exact hotel I used to come and stay with my family as a child, so I already knew just how family friendly the place is. It’s situated right beside the lake and also beside the ever so popular Polynesian Spa. The thing that I love about this hotel is the indoor heated pool which had many visits by us during our stay. After dropping off our bags, we ventured into town. Wafts of sulphur followed us throughout our walk, a constant reminder of the volcanic activity in the area. We decided to walk through the beautifully landscaped Government Gardens in front of the Museum of Rotorua. The museum was formerly a bathhouse and is now classed as a heritage building, well over 100 years old.

What we did:

TreeWalk at the Redwoods

This Treewalk is really a must for nature lovers visiting Rotorua! These Redwood trees are simply extraordinary. I was in awe at just how tall they were! You walk along the suspended bridges and platforms amongst the trees. With so much to see and do in Rotorua, this was actually one of our favourite places that we visited. It feels totally safe for everyone, good for families with kids but also very enjoyable for adults. You can also visit at night time and see the trees all lit up with beautiful carved wooden lamps and spotlights of different colour all along the walkway. Highly recommended!

Polynesian Spa 

Another must do when visiting Rotorua. Polynesian Spa is nestled on the shores of Lake Rotorua and is recognised as one of the top ten spas in the world! It’s renowned for its healing waters that come from two natural springs. We were invited to enjoy one of their lake view private pools that offers panoramic views over Lake Rotorua. The private pools are very large and perfect for families so your little ones can splash around and have loads of fun while not disturbing others. 

Te Puia

Te Puia is an iconic New Zealand destination! We explored Te Puia's unique geothermal valley home to the world famous Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to twenty times a day, and up to thirty meters high into the air. You cannot visit Rotorua without seeing this beautiful natural phenomenon. Incredible to see the wonder and beauty of nature so raw and so close. Spectacular colours, thermal fissures, bubbling mud, steam vents and vivid coloured lakes. Mother nature is amazing! This is a great family outing that you can do at your own pace. Along with access to the world famous Pohutu geyser, visitors have an opportunity to see Maori cultural performances, live kiwi, boiling mud pools, native bush and the National schools of wood carving and weaving. It was awesome to learn and see our Maori culture up close. Te Puia is doing a wonderful job of keeping the history of our people and Maori culture alive for future generations to come.


Whats a trip to Rotorua without a cheeky Luge ride? Our morning visit to Skyline was a real treat. Starting off with a tranquil Gondola ride up Mt Ngongotaha overlooking Lake Rotorua then winding our way down via the Luge. We were fitted with a safety helmet, given operating instruction for the sled and a brief safety check by a skillful and patient crew member and made our way down the mountainside at whatever speed we chose, twisting and turning along the way. It was exhilarating! We saw men, women and children of all ages donning their helmets for an exciting, fun-filled experience.  It should be on everyone's bucket list when visiting Rotorua.  

Where we ate:

Terrace Kitchen

Terrace Kitchen is the place to go if you want amazing food, great service. If you have kids then you won’t want to miss it! They have a huge back lawn with plenty of room for kids to run amok along with bikes, dress ups and a playhouse to occupy the kids while Mum and Dad enjoy the delicious seasonal food on their sunny, geo-thermally heated porch. 

Cobb & Co

A blast from the past! Cobb & Co is as good as I remember as a kid in the 90s! This was one of my favourite restaurants as a child. I used to love getting their famous traffic light drink which they still do along with the same kids menu. You can enjoy all their yummy classics including their scrumptious garlic bread and tasty ribs! They also have a great play area for kids. 

If you loved this blog post then keep following our New Zealand family adventures. We are planning some more epic upcoming adventures soon that we can't wait to take you along with us!

This post was created as part of a gifted visit to Rotorua, Many thanks to Rotorua NZ for hosting us. As always, all views and opinions are my own.

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